Esben and the Witch, Marina & The Diamonds, Exlovers, The Incredible Flight of Birdman, French Horn Rebellion - GIITTV's Tips for 2010 part 1

GodisintheTV 18/01/2010

Tipping bands at the start of the year is an inexact science isn't it? It depends how you define tipping an act, if it's purely on how many sales they will rack up, how many media appearances they will make and how much radio airplay they will notch up in the coming year like they do over at the BBC, then you are probably reading the wrong piece. We are supporting the following acts in 2010; we think they are capable of really good and challenging things both on record and on stage. If they do well commercially then its a bonus isn't it?! So I present to you the first in a series of tips pieces, including mix tapes (or tips tapes) of acts that we think you need to hear in 2010, so enjoy!

First up Chris Tapley gives us one of his main tips for the next year:

Esben and the Witch

There are few bands who look as poised for widespread critical acclaim in 2010 than Brighton trio Esben and the Witch. The macabre ethereal 'nightmare pop' of their debut EP 33 has brought a mass of attention from discerning bloggers and music forums over the last 12 months and helped net them support slots along side the likes of Deerhunter, The Fiery Furnaces and The XX in the process.

The EP, these shows and an appearance at this years End of the Road festival has led to a bit of a hype surrounding them; something which may well attract and repel new listeners in equal measure. Hype is a peculiar beast in today's musical climate and as such I'm reluctant to fuel that fire by proclaiming Esben and the Witch to be 2010's musical saviours; they will undoubtedly make some very interesting music though and as such it seems that any existing hype is entirely just. At the moment they're just on the underside of mass hype anyway, more tentative rumblings of something a little bit special brewing opposed to full on blogosphere hysteria. This could change though with the release of their debut single proper 'Lucia, At the Precipice' set for February as part of the Too Pure singles club (a series which has already highlighted the talents of several other bands who look set for big things in 2010 with releases by the likes of Copy Haho, Three Trapped Tigers and Pulled Apart By Horses).

With only 6 released tracks to their name it's hard not to get a little excited by the promise displayed by Esben. It's rare that a band arrives so fully formed and yet their recent contribution to the Dance to the Radio 4x12” series, Skeleton Swoon, still demonstrated a leap forward from the EP; the introduction of samples and a more polished sound suggesting that they're more than capable of making the sounds to match their ideas. If they can come anywhere close to recreating the kind of intricate alleys of darkened noise which made up the five tracks on '33' then they could be set for big things indeed. The likes of Eumenides were amongst this years most absorbing tracks for me, veering effortlessly from muffled chimes to euphoric gothic disco. There's a groove which often emerges from the darkness on tracks like this or About This Peninsula that makes Esben such an exciting proposition; the cross pollination of these two kind of disparate elements mixed with the distinctive vocals is an exhilarating experience . One moment there are pounding drums and grinding guitar lines lighting the road as you wander through the bleakness which pervades their songs then all of a sudden you're trapped in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black, only the quiet echo of vocals to guide you forward. The shifts in dynamics are startlingly proficient for a band still in their infancy, but even with the little evidence we have it seems that Esben and the Witch will undoubtedly be an important band to keep an eye on in 2010.

Secondly Alisha Ahmed picks out her first three acts for 2010:

Marina & The Diamonds:

Marina's 'Crown Jewels' EP and the single 'Obsession' were one of the most promising releases I came around this year, even though she clearly comes from the female solo rush the industry has been affected by in the last couple of years. If she stays true to herself, I'm in.


Exlovers are my favourite little lovely cute melancholic London band. If the Pains of being Pure at heart were Londoners, they would be Exlovers. Their "You forget so easily EP" was one of my favourite things of 2009 and if it was an album it would've been in my top 10. So Elliot Smith-ish you cannot avoid not wanting to give them a hug and make it all better. They're the most indie and twee an act can get (I believe they're still unsigned -fast or I will open a label just to sign them!-) and such genuine people too. It's amazing how good they are.

The Incredible Flight of Birdman:

How lucky do you have to be to catch a great band, clearly set for mainstream success, the night their very first single comes out? I think it's a very rare privilege which I've personally been graned very few times, the last one definitely on January 11th, when the very first release of "The Incredible Flight of Birdman" was celebrated by a launch gig at the Wilmington Arms, in London. It was also the first release of the newly established WET records label (founded by the very well trained ears of music writer John Earls), the "Where I Can't See You" EP presents the first works of this quartet from Cambridge, whose sound can only be described as "Impressively majestic". If you really need more details to figure them out, they sound pretty much like The Smiths playing at being Franz Ferdinand, and the proof that a well constructed bass line is the greatest base for any good sound you might create. But where music is not only about music anymore, the personality of frontman Nick Osbourne takes over more than well. It was fascinating to witness not just a set of songs played, but a true artistic performance well thought to emphasise the music itself. I cannot wait to hear a full set of theirs again, as a two songs EP is definitely not enough and will leave you all longing for more.

Last up for this part Steven Morgan picks out one of his must hear outfits for the next year:

French Horn Rebellion

French Horn Rebellion released their first album two years ago and have been building the hype internationally with a seemingly endless and tireless international touring regime. The two brothers, Robert and David seem to have finally built that momentum to breaking point and are currently working on the follow up which is sure to cause a stir. Their music manages to embody relentless happiness without the nauseous after-taste sickly twee bands like Alphabeat leave with you. The début album showed a strong love of new romanticism with big sing along choruses and soft synths aplenty whilst their latest EPs and work with artists like Database show signs a much more cutting edge electronic sound to expect from their upcoming album. They regularly host big party nights in NYC under the title "Brass Magic", David's previously worked as a producer with artists such as MGMT and Rahzel whilst their recent support slot on the Delphic / Two Door Cinema Club tour is a sign that things are really starting to line up for them. Expect big things this year.

Stand by for more Tips and Tip tapes in the coming months from GIITTV Zine!